Geert Lovink on Sat, 30 Jan 1999 12:05:13 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> radio essay

Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 16:42:19 +0100
From: (Bart Plantenga)

1.Radio & Aural Destabilization

Exploring the Disorienting & Inspiring Openness

I had a radio show on pirate Radio Patapoe that used to be located in the
Silo, a giant fortress-like, reinhabited and now again deinhabited granary
silo, squatted by artists and punks. It housed studios, a cafe,
performance space, a radio station, and still looms Medieval and ominous
along the River Ij in an industrial strip in Amsterdam's north. [It's now
in the latter stages of being renovated/colonized.]

Enter the metal door and you climb 5 flights up rickety, rusty, taped-up
steps in the musty cavernous shaft. I think ofVertigo's belltower scenes -
David Toop thinks "metal phase echoes of footsteps moving along an
alleyway, wind in drainpipes..." Unlock the padlock, enter the studio,
notice every horizontal surface is covered with beer bottles, empty
dolmens that mark the passage of (festive) times experienced here.

2. Radio & Aural Destabilization


Vibe is slang for the invisible emanations of feeling that operate between
receptive souls. Vibration is the emotional, physical and acoustical
agitation of stagnant space by aesthetics, passion, jazz, dub; the
amplitude of emotion that sits atop every bass string, trumpet valve, and
looped rhythm. As Joscelyn Godwin described it in her "Speculative Music":
"The whole universe is in a state of vibration; in fact it is a fair
speculative position ... that it is nothing but vibration. There is an
unbroken continuum of vibrations running from the infinitely large and
slow to the infinitely fast and small ... Approached in this way, our
perception of sound becomes something of cosmic significance for us ..."

Humans are genetically predisposed to seek out transcendence - or kill a
boring Friday night. People continue to chew, snort, smoke, inject, beat
or blow almost everything, be it extracted from nature or the lab, to get
into some beyond.

3. Radio & Aural Destabilization

"A broad drape of sound that seems to hypertrophy the slowness of the
tempo into an almost immobile song." * Philipe Carles

Wreck This Mess: Remissions 1: Compilation

I saw Dub Syndicate in NY where the speakers emitted deep, swelling
subterranean tremors - dilated, diffuse, insistent like a heavy train
rumbling through a dense fog, into the cauldron of the solar plexus until
finally - vertigo, awe, breathlessness - somewhere between hangover and
rite of passage; my partner was mugged by the music; it pressed
consciousness from her body. There she lay, puddle of pretty
unconsciousness at my feet. Further into the evening, mate in full upright
revival, a young man dancing, suddenly withered and collapsed and then a
taffy-legged woman wilted away, eyes lost in her forehead.

Dub causes wax to dislodge from the innermost portions of our tympanic
nerves - fomenting disorientation, derationalized music, blurring - sound
begins residing both forward and back, as well as inside one's head (head
as drum) where sound can wreak its havoc, invoke boundlessness, alter
relationships to body, environment, desire, and linear time. Woofers begin
to fibrilate, shred like paper flowers, let go of all moorings and we
realize speakers (like our minds' ears) were not designed to accommodate
such sonic tremors.

4. Radio & Aural Destabilization

"To drink wine in secret & not get caught, to accept the rules in order to
break them & thus attain the spiritual lift ... of danger & adventure, the
private epiphany of overcoming all interior police while tricking all
outward authority." * TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone by Hakim Bey

Radio: The Secret Pleasure Ground [Early Draft]

Covert:  Radio is everywhere - and nowhere to be seen. The more obviously
omnipresent, the more absent. It oozes into shopping-dining-loving and yet
seldom can we recall any one moment, any one name or location on the
glowing dial. If you want to lose track of something, live with it day and

The more into absence radio seems to retreat, the freer it becomes. The
freer it becomes, the more that freedom needs to be addressed,
extrapolated and nurtured in secrecy to realize the pre-commercial ideals
of radio - (pre-1940) radio was intended as interpersonal communication,
radiowave email if you will.

bart plantenga

Mailing: Westerdoksdijk 24 1013 AE Amsterdam the Netherlands tel: 020
6705965 email: homepage:
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